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Fishing boat captain pleads guilty to assault

January 27, 2012
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BOSTON—A Rhode Island man working as a captain of a Massachusetts fishing vessel has pleaded guilty to assaulting two federal monitors posted on his boat to collect fishing data.

Richard Wetherell faces up to six months in prison and a $100,000 fine on each of the two counts. Sentencing was scheduled for April 12.

The 61-year-old Jamestown, R.I., man pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Boston to charges of physical assault, impeding, intimidating or interfering with the duties of two federal at-sea monitors. The workers were monitoring fishing activities and collecting data under the terms of the nation's fisheries law, the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Prosecutors say Wetherell assaulted the monitors during two separate commercial fishing trips in July 2010. The incidents occurred aboard the FV Jessica & Susan, which is registered in New Bedford, Mass.

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